But before we toast to outgoing Sony Chair Amy Pascal, let’s look at the context for the study’s rankings.
Every single studio hired a male director over 90% of the time during the years studied. One of Pascal’s numerous legacies will be that, in her final six years atop Sony, 8.7% of its projects were directed by women. (That number is pumped up, notes the LA Times, by the indie/foreign division Sony Pictures Classics, which largely distributes films greenlit elsewhere.)
Universal and Fox, two other studios that recently appointed women leaders in Donna Langley and Stacey Snider, respectively, came in at #2 and #3 with women directors helming 7.5% and 7.1% of projects.
Occupying the bottom half of the rankings are Walt Disney (6.1%), Paramount (4.7%), and Warner Bros. (2.3%).
The LA Times also observes that the number of women-directed studio films has fallen in the last few years from a high of 8.1% in 2010 to last year’s low of 4.6%.
The numbers for female directors are significantly better in indie and documentary filmmaking, of course, but studio projects are still the films that are most available to moviegoers in many parts of the country, as well as the most likely to influence the larger culture (and spur similar projects in the future).
Unfortunately, as the numbers above indicate, studio filmmaking is where female protagonists and women’s voices continue to be acutely marginalized.